Publishing Consultant and Artist
The article below was written after an Art Chat with Jamie Markle when he was Fine Art Publisher at F+W Media. We hope this provides a glimpse of the experience that Jamie brings to Artistic Harmonies. Jamie and I have shared many lunchtime conversations back in the day. Welcome aboard Jamie!
Jamie Markle was the Fine Art Publisher at F&W Media from 2007 to 2017. His work gave him incredible opportunities to meet other artists and learn about their processes and teaching methods. Jamie worked with artists to capture and share these lessons with aspiring and professional artists interested in learning more about the creative process. Jamie has authored ten fine art books; the most recent is Drawing for Beginners: 100+ Ideas and Prompts to Release Your Inner Artist (Adams Media, 2021). In 2012 Art Chat had the opportunity to talk with Jamie. We took that opportunity to ask Jamie why getting published as an artist is important and to give us some advice on getting published. From Jamie’s well-thought-out answers, you can tell this was a subject he was prepared to answer and that he feels this is a vital part of any artist’s career.
Getting Published: I’m An Artist, Not A Writer!!
So, what’s the big deal? If you are like many of my artist friends, you probably have heard the cry to get published. And we are talking about not just publishing your artwork but writing something that resembles a book or article. And if you are like most of my artist friends, you probably have heard the title of this article more than once.
But yet, when we look for help, we turn to instruction books, articles, podcasts, and videos to help us. All of which required some form of communication for the artist to convey their knowledge. Professional writing requires good writing skills and a number of other skills, including working with others, as in editors who will polish your writing and keep you on point. Video production requires other skills like public speaking, editing, and planning to make a compelling presentation. Writing a video script is vastly different from writing a book or article. Without thinking through the script, you will spend a lot of money in the editing process only to realize what you missed when filming.
Not every artist wants to be published or feel that what they know will benefit other artists. Some of us even despise the idea of having to write out the painting process. However, just like writing a to-do list helps clear the mind and prioritize the needed items, writing a book or article about your painting process can help you clarify and internalize how you paint. Each step captured on paper will help you analyze why that step is important. In the long run, it will make you a better communicator, not just with your brush but also when you talk to collectors, new prospects, and students. Expressing your painting process can help cultivate new contacts and garner support and admiration for your work. Writing and getting published can continue your growth as an artist.
Intrigued? In 2012 Jamie appeared on Art Chat, and we asked him for some advice on getting published. Here’s a list of the key things Jamie suggested for artists who want to get published:
- It all starts with the artwork. It should be both proficient and unique. You need to have your own voice and be able to express it.
- Treat your art career as a business. When you submit your idea for publication, an editor will first Google your name and look through your website and social media. They want to see that you are serious about your work and running a professional business.
- Maintain a consistent body of work. For example, if you are presenting an idea for publication, you will need to show work that substantiates your idea and speaks to your proposed topic.
- Set goals and show progress toward your objectives (have you created your OGSM yet? (O=Objective, G=goals, S=Strategies, M=Measures. (Check out the article in the May 2012 issue of The Artist’s Magazine (and for our AHA Members, there is a video that discusses this tool) on creating one.). The writing and publishing of a book take both parties’ investment, and a publisher will want a proven track record. Having goals and showing progress against them shows that you are serious about your art career.
- Network with other artists and art professionals. As with all careers, you need to be a well-rounded business person. What happens after you submit your idea? It may not get through on the first try. Through networking, you will be following up on your submission. You may be asking other artists to comment, contribute, or write a preface to your book. All of these things require networking skills.
- Write coherently. Your submission needs to convey in a clear message, who you are, what your goals are, and what the idea (or hook) is. If you can’t convey this coherently, what does that say about your writing ability?
- Include what you are most interested in writing about and provide information on related topics. For example, if you are most interested in writing a book about color theory, you may include ideas about color relationships, the color wheel, and other related topics. Refer to point number three about having a consistent body of work.
Jamie also mentioned that having patience is required. If a publisher recently published an article or book on the topic you are suggesting, it may be a year before they visit that topic again. Networking and building relationship skills are key to keeping abreast of publishing needs. There is also the opportunity that your idea could be one they were looking to publish soon. In this case, you may have a better chance of immediate success. It would be best to research who you are approaching with your idea and what they have published recently.
Planning and scheduling are a big part of any corporation and should be a part of any artistic career. Jamie stated that he and the editors planned out the next year of publications in the summer of every year. All publishers plan their annual goals and map out their strategies—you need to do the same. Do you want to present your idea in the Fall months just after they have conducted their planning sessions? It would be better to submit your thoughts to impact their planning session in the Spring. It would be best to map out your goals and flesh out the idea more thoroughly.
You have probably read several times that the art world truly is an industry. And just like the consumer goods industry, it requires its base of “employees” (the artists) to have business skills to succeed. Getting published can be one form of advertising your abilities and garnering the attention you seek to expand your collectors and client base. If you study the masters of today, hand-in-hand with their exceptional talent, uniqueness, and skills are the keen business skills that gave them an edge in the industry. We know successful artists and their work from their books, articles written about them, and maybe even a blog they write.
We welcome Jamie, and we look forward to working with him here at Artistic Harmonies Association.